Understanding Climate Risk

Science, policy and decision-making

Archive for June 2013

Climate Adaptation Outlook

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The Department of Everything (DIICCSRTE) has released Climate Adaptation Outlook: A Proposed National Adaptation Assessment Framework (pdf) for public comment. So I am asking, begging, imploring anyone who has a serious interest in how this country adapts to climate change to read it, think about it and respond. It’s not a formal public submission process with a specific submission date. The document and website both say this:

In the second half of 2013, the Department will consult stakeholders on the proposed assessment framework and indicators set out in this report. Those wishing to provide comments on the proposed framework can email them to adaptationoutlook@innovation.gov.au. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Roger Jones

June 27, 2013 at 11:07 pm

Isn’t stalking illegal?

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But I digress. Kevin Rudd has risen twice, breaking the souffle effect and reinforcing the glass ceiling. Graham Readfearn has a great post on The Grauniad environmental blog: Can Kevin Rudd protect Australia’s climate change credibility?

Given that Greg Combet has resigned, Australia has no climate change minister at present. And what about policy? Let’s see how the government manages (perhaps in its last few days) to manage the “great moral, environmental and economic challenge of our age.”

Written by Roger Jones

June 27, 2013 at 10:32 pm

The scientific origins of the gradualist adaptation narrative and how to move beyond it

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The following statements are typical of the gradualist adaptation narrative:

  1. Within limits, the impacts of gradual climate change should be manageable.
  2. Therefore, climate change adaptation can be understood as: (a) adapting to gradual changes in average temperature, sea level and precipitation.
  3. Gradual climate change allows for a gradual shift in the mix of crops and to alternative farming systems.

So why are Gauss and Newton in the bath and Ed Lorenz in the hot tub?

Bath&Jacuzzi

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Ecosystems – the slippery slope to slime

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NCCARF Adaptation Conference

Day 1 Tuesday 25th June 2013, 1.00-2.30 pm

Whatever we do for our ecosystems we know that climate change means a fundamental shift in what our ecosystems look like. Arguably it is where aggressive mitigation might be the best adaptation option. In the absence of this, what do we do? If we keep doing what we do now (build resilience, biosecurity, reduce fragmentation) is it enough? Should we be pragmatic and start preparing for trade-offs – determine sacrificial species or ecosystems that we can’t save? Is it simply an economic exercise of optimising our investment to get the best diversity bang for our buck? Or are we simply on the slippery-slope to slime with weeds and algae the future of biodiversity.

Facilitator: Craig James (CSIRO)

  • Doing what we already know – is it enough or is there a resilience deficit? (Lesley Hughes – MQU)
  • The marine environment – from coral to slime (Alistair Hobday – CSIRO)
  • Location, location,location – are our National Parks in the right place? (Steve Williams – JCU)
  • Having our cake and eating it – water supply and biodiversity it’s all possible (Max Finlayson – CSU)
  • It’s a simple equation – making the pragmatic decisions of trade-offs, optimisation (Eve McDonald-Madden – UQ)

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Written by Roger Jones

June 25, 2013 at 11:09 pm

NCCARF Climate Adaptation Conference 2013

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The NCCARF (National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility) Climate Adaptation Conference climate adaptation knowledge + partnerships is on from June 25-27 in Sydney. I’m attending to present the results of our recently completed project Valuing Adaptation under Rapid Change. There are many researchers and practitioners of climate adaptation from Australia and overseas here, but there is also a sense of things winding down, because NCCARF finishes up at the end of June with no obvious Commonwealth footprint in climate adaptation beyond that date.

Throw in the recent efforts by some state governments to open up for business and cut green tape, there is a genuine uncertainty about the future of research that aims to improve the three pillars of sustainable development: economy, environment and society, over long time scales. Ahh yes, but I hear you say, research is like policy, it doesn’t only need to be enacted (i.e., published in the peer reviewed literature), it needs to be enabled and implemented. And that’s something that research has not always been able to do. NCCARF has managed to do some of this, but with mixed success.

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Global warming breaks link between SAM and ENSO

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Global warming has caused SAM and ENSO to divorce according to Guojian Wang and Wenju Cai, published in Nature Science Reports on June 20. This is having major impacts on Australia and has contributed to the warm and dry conditions over the southern part of the continent since the late 1960s.

SAM is the Southern Annular Mode surrounding Antarctica, a band of wind and water that distributes hot, high pressure and cold, low pressure lobes around the Southern Ocean. This transfers atmospheric mass (pressure) between the mid and high latitudes. The positive phase is highly correlated with a positive phase of ENSO (the El Niño-Southern Oscillation), La Niña. A positive phase of SAM forces westerlies further south in autumn-winter, but in summer allows the easterly trades greater access, bringing in more moisture from the tropics and enhancing La Niña summer rainfall.

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